The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – Wet and Cold in Chester and Llangollen

Sunday and Greg has put his washing on early. We will get away again today after hanging out the washing. Very domestic.

Kerry wants to show us the aqueduct over in Llangollen and to fill in the day plans we visit Chester. Chester is a city in Cheshire, lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, Chester was founded as a Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix, during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian in AD79. One of the three main army camps in the Roman province of Britannia, Deva later became a major civilian settlement. In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia, which later became Chester’s first cathedral, and the Saxons extended and strengthened the walls, much of which remain, to protect the city against the Danes. Chester was one of the last cities in England to fall to the Normans. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle, to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border.

On arriving in Chester I again scored a hit with the parking. A short walk brought us to the Information office just as the rain started. A good day to take the hop on hop off bus, so we walked around to the bus terminus and waited for the bus. It finally showed – delayed by road closures because of a fun run through the city. We can pick them!

Boarding the bus we found we were the only passengers. The tour guide seemed to take a shine to us straight away and joined us under cover on the upper deck to give us a personalised presentation.

The more unusual landmarks in the city are the city walls, the Rows and the black-and-white architecture. The walls encircle the bounds of the medieval city and constitute the most complete city walls in Britain. A footpath runs along the top of the walls, crossing roads by bridges, and passing a series of structures, particularly Phoenix Tower (or King Charles’ Tower), so named because Charles was supposed to watch his army be defeated by the Parliamentary army in 1645. On Eastgate is Eastgate Clock which is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben. Unfortunately it was being repaired and we could not view it.

The Rows consist of buildings with shops or dwellings on the lowest two storeys. The shops or dwellings on the ground floor are often lower than the street and are entered by steps, which sometimes lead to a crypt-like vault. Those on the first floor are entered behind a continuous walkway, often with a sloping shelf between the walkway and the railings overlooking the street.

The most prominent buildings in the city centre are the town hall and the cathedral.

Another notable building is the preserved shot tower, the highest structure in Chester. This is where lead shot was made before cartridge shot replaced lead shot. The most important Roman feature is the amphitheatre just outside the walls which is undergoing archaeological investigation. To the south of the city runs the River Dee, with its 11th century weir. According to our guide the River Dee had a basin on which the Romans built a large inland port and that Chester retained its commercial importance as a port until the weir was built and caused the basin to silt up. This area between the river and the city walls is known as the Roodee, and contains Chester Racecourse

With the rain still falling we found a pub had lunch and hoped the rain would stop. As we farewelled Chester the rain did stop until we arrived at The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It is a navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham County Borough in north east Wales. Completed in 1805, it is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain, and a World Heritage Site.

Arriving at the aqueduct, it started to rain and the wind picked up to the point that it became miserable but still we walked the aqueduct clutching our umbrellas against the wind. Unbelievable views and scenic vistas only spoiled by wind, rain and close to freezing temperatures. It is summer you know.


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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.